A leading Kentucky Derby contender on the East Coast, Maximus Mischief will try to carry his stellar juvenile form forward when opening his three-year-old season in Saturday’s $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The unbeaten colt picks up the services of Eclipse Award-winning jockey Jose Ortiz and heads a 10-horse field in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier.
Trained by Butch Reid, Maximus Mischief recorded excellent BRIS Speed ratings of 94 and 104 when opening his career with convincing wins over maiden and entry-level allowance foes at Parx. He shipped to Aqueduct and picked up 10 points toward a Kentucky Derby berth when comfortably leading wire-to-wire in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) on December 1, registering a field-best 106 BRIS Speed figure for the 2 1/4-length decision.
Maximus Mischief has never raced on off track and Gulfstream officials are expecting wet conditions, moving a pair of graded turf stakes from Saturday to Sunday. But the well-built colt is by Into Mischief, who sports a commendable 17 percent off-track win rate.
The 1 1/16-mile race awards points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four finishers toward a Kentucky Derby berth.
Mihos rates as a major challenger after rallying courageously to win the January 5 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park, getting up by a neck in the one-turn mile test. Third to unbeaten Nashua (G3) winner Vekoma when making his career debut, Mihos broke his maiden convincingly the second time out and the son of Cairo Prince is eligible to relish the stretch out to two turns. John Velazquez picks up the mount for Jimmy Jerkens.
Federal Case brings a two-for-two record into his stakes bow. A debut winner at Keeneland in October, the Gemologist colt was sold to new connections for $650,000 at the Keeneland November sale and was transferred to Todd Pletcher. He exits a game neck decision in a December 23 entry-level allowance at Gulfstream and Javier Castellano takes over the reins.
Come on Gerry jumps to stakes company following a good-looking maiden tally in his first two-turn attempt, scoring by 2 ¼ lengths at Gulfstream on December 28. Robby Albarado retains the assignment for Dale Romans. Epic Dreamer appears capable of better after experiencing a rough trip as the favorite in the Remington Springboard Mile, checking in sixth at 6-5. The Kelly Breen-trained colt will have Irad Ortiz Jr. at the helm.
Going for Gold is still winless, finishing a close second in a pair of Laurel Park maiden special weight events, and promises to show speed from his outside post for new trainer Bob Hess Jr. Mucho Macho Man third-placer Garter and Tie and last-out maiden winner Harvey Wallbanger face a difficult challenge. A pair of extreme outsiders, Everfast and Gladiator King, complete the line-up.